After an E.Coli outbreak left 40 people sick and one dead across Canada, it came to the United States, and since November of 2017, it has resulted in 17 recorded cases of food poisoning. Among these cases, five victims were hospitalized, two of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. One of the hospitalized victims died as a result of the illness. The cases in the United States were primarily concentrated in the Northeast, but did include reports from across the nation.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not confirmed a specific source of the E.Coli bacteria, Consumer Reports magazine is warning Americans to avoid consuming romaine lettuce until the outbreak is traced to a definitive source. 41 of the reported cases in Canada were linked to consuming romaine lettuce, and the bacteria found causing the illnesses in the United States is genetically similar to the type of E.Coli linked to the illnesses reported in Canada.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a condition caused by the destruction of red blood cells. When left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure.
Contact with E.Coli bacteria is the most common cause of hemolytic uremic syndrome, especially in children. E.Coli is often transmitted through contaminated meat or produce, but can also be transmitted through contaminated water or through close contact with an individual suffering from infection. Symptoms of E.Coli poisoning include:
- Blood in the urine;
- Decreased urination;
- Increased blood pressure;
- Bleeding in the nose and mouth;
- Unexplained bruises;
- Abdominal pain; and
Individuals suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome need professional medical care. Treatment can include red blood cell transfusions, kidney dialysis, fluid replacement, platelet transfusions, and plasma exchange. Following treatment, a patient could need medication to continue to lower his or her blood pressure if he or she sustained permanent kidney damage.
Tracking the Cause of the E.Coli Outbreak
Tracing a food poisoning outbreak to its source can take time and considerable effort on the part of the CDC. With an item like romaine lettuce, this can be a particularly complex process because often, romaine and other leafy vegetables are shipped from individual farms to central processing plants, where they are mixed into packages with other vegetables and then shipped to stores and commercial distributors. Until a cause is specified, American consumers are urged to avoid purchasing and consuming romaine as well as packaged salad mixes that contain it.
Work with an Experienced Chicago Food Poisoning Attorney
If you or your child have suffered from E.Coli poisoning after being served or sold contaminated food, you could have grounds to seek monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more, contact our team of experienced food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today to set up your initial consultation in our office. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas.
(image courtesy of Alfonso Cenname)